HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Concerns over domestic violence continue as the COVID-19 pandemic forces people to stay home.
Neisha Himes said she knows what it’s like to be the survivor of domestic violence.
She is the founder of the non-profit G.R.O.W. Foundation, an agency that helps survivors, and she works as a domestic violence outreach liaison for the Newport News Police Department.
She said the pandemic is making it tough for people to seek help and is putting an added strain on many families. She said COVID-19 is forcing victims to spend more time with their abusers in many cases. For many people, home is not a safe place, but they are being told to stay home.
To help survivors, she took action and wrote an adult coloring book that’s filled with quotes from local survivors, images and her own poetry. The book is illustrated by Disha Kedia Gupta of Not Just Doodle.
“I just know how much writing has helped me in my journey as a survivor and how much poetry has helped me,” said Himes.
The book’s called "Crowns and Couplets" and was released last week. The book cost $20, plus a $4 shipping charge.
“When people start coloring these pages, they may color the survivors all different types of ways, and it just goes to show and reinforces that domestic violence has no face and has no color,” Himes.
She got the idea when while working with victims in the court system. She said one day she got the child of a survivor something to color while the mother waited nervously for court.
“Oftentimes, there was this nervous, anxious tense energy that the survivor has just because they are afraid of what may happen, an upcoming court case or they were just scared or nervous,” said Himes. “This book, I hope, is really empowering and encouraging and inspiring and just helps those going through a tough time or just have that strength to just fight another day.”
She has a message for victims.
“That you know there is help, you're not alone and the first step is knowing that what you're going through, you don't have to accept it,” said Himes. “I wanted to dedicate it to survivors of domestic violence trauma and anyone who's just forgotten their worth as a whole.”
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